Summer stands on the corner of Union Avenue. He’s an Asian this year, homosexual and proud.
For the time of year, the days and nights are particularly cool. I think perhaps that he is waiting for a friend. He watches a turbulent relationship leaving apartment B. They are going to the shops. They’re too engrossed in each other’s problems to be aware of his eyes all over them. They need new batteries for their radio, it’s a priority, written at the top of pocketed lines of paper:
3 AA batteries
milk (3 pts.)
1 doz. eggs
1 cranberry bushel
It’s a very long list. They’ll probably be out all afternoon. Perhaps she’ll make a phone call plea to her mother. I am watching all this from the bedroom window.
They disappear around the corner. The neighbor’s cat sits on my wall. It’s a vantage point from which she makes calculations. I’m not sure of the exact nature of these. Apparently they involve food, comfort and the relationship between darkness and distances. Summer chucks a leaf at her. It misses.
My current sexual neutrality comes through from the other room and joins me at the window. She is full of words.
“That movie you wanted to see is on in a few minutes. Do you still want to go out for a drink tonight? I’m pretty tired, could do with an early night. You’re quiet today. I see old Summer’s out there again. Looks like he’s off up Alta Vista road. Do you want more coffee?”
She leaves and I glance around the room. This morning’s jerk is curled up and asleep in my unmade bed. Her fact-and-fantasy body seems incongruous, even slightly pathetic, when set against the proper world.
“It’s on the counter, hun. I’ve not put any sugar in. The movie’s starting. Are you coming in?”
What this place needs is a real woman’s touch. She’d see that the windows didn’t distract me so easily. She’d do something about the days and nights. She’d not make coffee that tasted like dirty carpet. Sometimes when I lie in bed I hear her footsteps outside, It’s late and she’s hurrying along on her way home. Other nights she’s someone else and is too far away to be heard.
Perhaps I’ll ask her out for a meal. Perhaps we’ll be drunk at a party and I’ll fuck her as a formality before finding out that she’s a typist or a student or a trainee something. Perhaps she’ll suddenly say “Hey you comma how’ve you been question mark I didn’t know that you still lived around here exclamation point” and we’ll both be pleased to see each other after so long, and I never expected it would turn out to be her.
“Can we have 3 AA batteries, please?”
Simultaneously, Summer reaches the top of Alta Vista road. I stir in one teaspoonful of sugar and go in to watch the movie. She’s sitting on a bus somewhere, vaguely wondering what I’m going to look like and when. The cat is having problems with a particularly awkward calculation and decides to sleep on it.
Mid-afternoon pulls up in his car and opens the door for Summer to get in: “Where the hell have you been?”